Browsing by Subject "cancer"

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  • Vakkilainen, Svetlana; Taskinen, Mervi; Klemetti, Paula; Pukkala, Eero; Mäkitie, Outi (2019)
    Cartilage-hair hypoplasia (CHH) is a skeletal dysplasia with combined immunodeficiency, variable clinical course and increased risk of malignancy. Management of CHH is complicated by a paucity of long-term follow-up data, as well as knowledge on prognostic factors. We assessed clinical course and risk factors for mortality in a prospective cohort study of 80 patients with CHH recruited in 1985-1991 and followed up until 2016. For all patients we collected additional health information from health records and from the national Medical Databases and Cause-of-death Registry. The primary outcome was immunodeficiency-related death, including death from infections, lung disease and malignancy. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated using national mortality rates as reference. Half of the patients (57%, n = 46) manifested no symptoms of immunodeficiency during follow-up while 19% (n = 15) and 24% (n = 19) demonstrated symptoms of humoral or combined immunodeficiency, including six cases of adult-onset immunodeficiency. In a significant proportion of patients (17/79, 22%), clinical features of immunodeficiency progressed over time. Of the 15 patients with non-skin cancer, eight had no preceding clinical symptoms of immunodeficiency. Altogether 20 patients had deceased (SMR = 7.0, 95% CI = 4.3-11); most commonly from malignancy (n = 7, SMR = 10, 95% CI = 4.1-21) and lung disease (n = 4, SMR = 46, 95% CI = 9.5-130). Mortality associated with birth length below-4 standard deviation (compared to normal, SMR/SMR ratio = 5.4, 95% CI = 1.5-20), symptoms of combined immunodeficiency (compared to asymptomatic, SMR/SMR ratio= 3.9, 95% CI = 1.3-11), Hirschsprung disease (odds ratio (OR) 7.2, 95% CI = 1.04-55), pneumonia in the first year of life or recurrently in adulthood (OR = 7.6/19, 95% CI = 1.3-43/2.6-140) and autoimmunity in adulthood (OR = 39, 95% CI = 3.5-430). In conclusion, patients with CHH may develop adult-onset immunodeficiency or malignancy without preceding clinical symptoms of immune defect, warranting careful follow-up. Variable disease course and risk factors for mortality should be acknowledged.
  • Van Der Wel, Kjetil A.; Östergren, Olof; Lundberg, Olle; Korhonen, Kaarina; Martikainen, Pekka; Andersen, Anne-Marie Nybo; Urhoj, Stine Kjaer (2019)
    Aims: Future research on health inequality relies on data that cover life-course exposure, different birth cohorts and variation in policy contexts. Nordic register data have long been celebrated as a ?gold mine? for research, and fulfil many of these criteria. However, access to and use of such data are hampered by a number of hurdles and bottlenecks. We present and discuss the experiences of an ongoing Nordic consortium from the process of acquiring register data on socio-economic conditions and health in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Methods: We compare experiences of data-acquisition processes from a researcher?s perspective in the four countries and discuss the comparability of register data and the modes of collaboration available to researchers, given the prevailing ethical and legal restrictions. Results: The application processes we experienced were time-consuming, and decision structures were often fragmented. We found substantial variation between the countries in terms of processing times, costs and the administrative burden of the researcher. Concerned agencies differed in policy and practice which influenced both how and when data were delivered. These discrepancies present a challenge to comparative research. Conclusions: We conclude that there are few signs of harmonisation, as called for by previous policy documents and research papers. Ethical vetting needs to be centralised both within and between countries in order to improve data access. Institutional factors that seem to facilitate access to register data at the national level include single storage environments for health and social data, simplified ethical vetting and user guidance.
  • Ahlberg, Sara; Grace, Delia; Kiarie, Gideon; Kirino, Yumi; Lindahl, Johanna (2018)
    Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), a human carcinogen, is found in milk products and may have potentially severe health impacts on milk consumers. We assessed the risk of cancer and stunting as a result of AFM1 consumption in Nairobi, Kenya, using worst case assumptions of toxicity and data from previous studies. Almost all (99.5%) milk was contaminated with AFM1. Cancer risk caused by AFM1 was lower among consumers purchasing from formal markets (0.003 cases per 100,000) than for low-income consumers (0.006 cases per 100,000) purchasing from informal markets. Overall cancer risk (0.004 cases per 100,000) from AFM1 alone was low. Stunting is multifactorial, but assuming only AFM1 consumption was the determinant, consumption of milk contaminated with AFM1 levels found in this study could contribute to 2.1% of children below three years in middle-income families, and 2.4% in low-income families, being stunted. Overall, 2.7% of children could hypothetically be stunted due to AFM1 exposure from milk. Based on our results AFM1 levels found in milk could contribute to an average of −0.340 height for age z-score reduction in growth. The exposure to AFM1 from milk is 46 ng/day on average, but children bear higher exposure of 3.5 ng/kg bodyweight (bw)/day compared to adults, at 0.8 ng/kg bw/day. Our paper shows that concern over aflatoxins in milk in Nairobi is disproportionate if only risk of cancer is considered, but that the effect on stunting children might be much more significant from a public health perspective; however, there is still insufficient data on the health effects of AFM1.
  • Allan, Robert (Edinburgh, 1821)
  • Sanikini, Harinakshi; Muller, David C; Sophiea, Marisa; Rinaldi, Sabina; Agudo, Antonio; Duell, Eric J; Weiderpass, Elisabete; Overvad, Kim; Tjønneland, Anne; Halkjær, Jytte; Boutron-Ruault, Marie-Christine; Carbonnel, Franck; Cervenka, Iris; Boeing, Heiner; Kaaks, Rudolf; Kühn, Tilman; Trichopoulou, Antonia; Martimianaki, Georgia; Karakatsani, Anna; Pala, Valeria; Palli, Domenico; Mattiello, Amalia; Tumino, Rosario; Sacerdote, Carlotta; Skeie, Guri; Rylander, Charlotta; López, María Dolores Chirlaque; Sánchez, Maria-Jose; Ardanaz, Eva; Regnér, Sara; Stocks, Tanja; Bueno-de-Mesquita, Bas; Vermeulen, Roel C.H.; Aune, Dagfinn; Tong, Tammy Y.N.; Kliemann, Nathalie; Murphy, Neil; Chadeau-Hyam, Marc; Gunter, Marc J; Cross, Amanda J (2019)
    Obesity has been associated with upper gastrointestinal cancers; however, there are limited prospective data on associations by subtype/subsite. Obesity can impact hormonal factors, which have been hypothesized to play a role in these cancers. We investigated anthropometric and reproductive factors in relation to esophageal and gastric cancer by subtype and subsite for 476,160 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) and 95%-confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox models. During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 220 esophageal adenocarcinomas (EA), 195 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas, 243 gastric cardia (GC) and 373 gastric non-cardia (GNC) cancers were diagnosed. Body mass index (BMI) was associated with EA in men (BMI≥30 vs 18.5-25kg/m2: HR=1.94, 95%-CI: 1.25-3.03) and women (HR=2.66, 95%-CI: 1.15-6.19); however, adjustment for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) attenuated these associations. WHR and waist circumference (WC) were associated with EA in men (HR=3.47, 95%-CI: 1.99-6.06 for WHR >0.96 vs 98 vs 0.82 vs 83 vs 2 vs 0) and age at first pregnancy and GNC (HR=0.54, 95%-CI: 0.32-0.91; >26 vs
  • Chandola, Chetan; Kalme, Sheetal; Casteleijn, Marco G.; Urtti, Arto; Neerathilingam, Muniasamy (2016)
    Aptamers are small, single-stranded oligonucleotides (DNA or RNA) that bind to their target with high specificity and affinity. Although aptamers are analogous to antibodies for a wide range of target recognition and variety of applications, they have significant advantages over antibodies. Since aptamers have recently emerged as a class of biomolecules with an application in a wide array of fields, we need to summarize the latest developments herein. In this review we will discuss about the latest developments in using aptamers in diagnostics, drug delivery and imaging. We begin with diagnostics, discussing the application of aptamers for the detection of infective agents itself, antigens/toxins (bacteria), biomarkers (cancer), or a combination. The ease of conjugation and labelling of aptamers makes them a potential tool for diagnostics. Also, due to the reduced off-target effects of aptamers, their use as a potential drug delivery tool is emerging rapidly. Hence, we discuss their use in targeted delivery in conjugation with siRNAs, nanoparticles, liposomes, drugs and antibodies. Finally, we discuss about the conjugation strategies applicable for RNA and DNA aptamers for imaging. Their stability and self-assembly after heating makes them superior over protein-based binding molecules in terms of labelling and conjugation strategies.
  • Eskelinen, Eeva-Liisa (2019)
    Autophagy is a conserved catabolic process that delivers cytoplasmic components and organelles to lysosomes for degradation and recycling. This pathway serves to degrade nonfunctional organelles and aggregate-prone proteins, as well as to produce substrates for energy production and biosynthesis. Autophagy is especially important for the maintenance of stem cells, and for the survival and homeostasis of post-mitotic cells like neurons. Functional autophagy promotes longevity in several model organisms. Autophagy regulates immunity and inflammation at several levels and has both anti- and pro-tumorigenic roles in cancer. This review provides a concise overview of autophagy and its importance in cellular and organismal homeostasis, with emphasis on aging, stem cells, neuronal cells, immunity, inflammation, and cancer.
  • Talman, Virpi; Provenzani, Riccardo; af Gennäs, Gustav Boije; Tuominen, Raimo K.; Yli-Kauhaluoma, Jari (2014)
  • Asghar, Muhammad Yasir; Lassila, Taru; Törnquist, Kid (2021)
    Calcium signaling participates in a vast number of cellular processes, ranging from the regulation of muscle contraction, cell proliferation, and mitochondrial function, to the regulation of the membrane potential in cells. The actions of calcium signaling are, thus, of great physiological significance for the normal functioning of our cells. However, many of the processes that are regulated by calcium, including cell movement and proliferation, are important in the progression of cancer. In the normal thyroid, calcium signaling plays an important role, and evidence is also being gathered showing that calcium signaling participates in the progression of thyroid cancer. This review will summarize what we know in regard to calcium signaling in the normal thyroid as, well as in thyroid cancer.
  • Young, T. Kue; Kelly, Janet J.; Friborg, Jeppe; Soininen, Leena; Wong, Kai O. (2016)
    Objectives. To determine and compare the incidence of cancer among the 8 Arctic States and their northern regions, with special focus on 3 cross-national indigenous groups - Inuit, Athabaskan Indians and Sami. Methods. Data were extracted from national and regional statistical agencies and cancer registries, with direct age-standardization of rates to the world standard population. For comparison, the "world average'' rates as reported in the GLOBOCAN database were used. Findings. Age-standardized incidence rates by cancer sites were computed for the 8 Arctic States and 20 of their northern regions, averaged over the decade 2000 - 2009. Cancer of the lung and colon/rectum in both sexes are the commonest in most populations. We combined the Inuit from Alaska, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Greenland into a "Circumpolar Inuit'' group and tracked cancer trends over four 5-year periods from 1989 to 2008. There has been marked increase in lung, colorectal and female breast cancers, while cervical cancer has declined. Compared to the GLOBOCAN world average, Inuit are at extreme high risk for lung and colorectal cancer, and also certain rare cancers such as nasopharyngeal cancer. Athabaskans (from Alaska and Northwest Territories) share some similarities with the Inuit but they are at higher risk for prostate and breast cancer relative to the world average. Among the Sami, published data from 3 cohorts in Norway, Sweden and Finland show generally lower risk of cancer than non-Sami. Conclusions. Cancer among certain indigenous people in the Arctic is an increasing public health concern, especially lung and colorectal cancer.
  • Raivola, Juuli; Haikarainen, Teemu; Silvennoinen, Olli (2020)
    The Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription protein (JAK-STAT) pathway mediates essential biological functions from immune responses to haematopoiesis. Deregulated JAK-STAT signaling causes myeloproliferative neoplasms, leukaemia, and lymphomas, as well as autoimmune diseases. Thereby JAKs have gained significant relevance as therapeutic targets. However, there is still a clinical need for better JAK inhibitors and novel strategies targeting regions outside the conserved kinase domain have gained interest. In-depth knowledge about the molecular details of JAK activation is required. For example, whether the function and regulation between receptors is conserved remains an open question. We used JAK-deficient cell-lines and structure-based mutagenesis to study the function of JAK1 and its pseudokinase domain (JH2) in cytokine signaling pathways that employ JAK1 with different JAK heterodimerization partner. In interleukin-2 (IL-2)-induced STAT5 activation JAK1 was dominant over JAK3 but in interferon-gamma (IFN gamma) and interferon-alpha (IFN alpha) signaling both JAK1 and heteromeric partner JAK2 or TYK2 were both indispensable for STAT1 activation. Moreover, IL-2 signaling was strictly dependent on both JAK1 JH1 and JH2 but in IFN gamma signaling JAK1 JH2 rather than kinase activity was required for STAT1 activation. To investigate the regulatory function, we focused on two allosteric regions in JAK1 JH2, the ATP-binding pocket and the alpha C-helix. Mutating L633 at the alpha C reduced basal and cytokine induced activation of STAT in both JAK1 wild-type (WT) and constitutively activated mutant backgrounds. Moreover, biochemical characterization and comparison of JH2s let us depict differences in the JH2 ATP-binding and strengthen the hypothesis that de-stabilization of the domain disturbs the regulatory JH1-JH2 interaction. Collectively, our results bring mechanistic understanding about the function of JAK1 in different receptor complexes that likely have relevance for the design of specific JAK modulators.
  • Mäki, Toni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The human immune system can provide a powerful tool in developing therapies against various cancers. Even though the idea of an immune system actively searching for and disposing of potential mutated tumor cells is over a century old, only recent developments in various fields such as mass spectrometry, immuno-checkpoint blockade strategies and in silico modelling have enabled the realization of the full potential of recruiting immune system to fight cancer and the possibilities of personalized therapies. These therapeutic methods, including but not limited to oncolytic virus therapies, T-cell therapies and cancer vaccines, are based on the body’s ability to recognize mutated antigen peptides presented on the cell surface by MCH-receptors (also known as HLA-receptors in humans) and the disposal of the malignant cells by cytotoxic T-cells. Thus, the capability to map the individual HLA-presented peptidome and differentiate the immunogenic peptides is a foundation for this plethora of therapies and is in focus of ongoing research. This master thesis is a part of a project aiming to set up immunoaffinity-purification/MS based method in order to analyse the ligandome and determine T-cell recognized cancer associated antigens from tumor cells. Objectives of the work: 1. Characterizing tumor cell lines. 2. Immunological assay set up. 3. Collecting cell culture material for the ligandome affinity purification. 4. In silico prediction if the immunogenicity of selected peptides and assessing their source proteins. Methods used: 1. Cell culture. 2. FACS-analysis. 3. MTS-viability assay. 4. Immunological assays (ELISA, ELISPOT). 5. Immunological bioinformatics analysis tools (IEDB) and database search (UniPROT). Results: 1. Flow cytometric analysis provided essential information of the cell line HLA-1 expression. Additional information of PD-L1 expression can be used to evaluate cell line’s immune-evasion abilities. Preliminary MTS assay is used to determine linear range and optimal time frame for the PBMC/cancer cell co-culture killing assay. 2. Interferon γ cytokine secretion was determined by ELISPOT to assess PBMC response against known antigens in a preliminary experiment to approximate usable range for the following antigen specific PBMC assays. ELISA is used to confirm the presence of HLA-I receptors in the ligandome affinity purification eluates and to estimate the efficacy of purification. 3. Feasibility of in silico methods in the prediction of immunogenic peptides was explored. The experiments provided information that can be applied to the further development of the immune ligandome discovery project. In silico methods were successfully used to characterize previously identified HLA-restricted peptides and one previously identified immunogenic T-cell epitope. Even if the data acquired in silico can be considered only nominally verified at this stage, the results are encouraging.
  • Boije af Gennäs, Gustav; Talman, Virpi; Yli-Kauhaluoma, Jari; Tuominen, Raimo K.; Ekokoski, Elina (2011)
    The second messenger diacylglycerol (DAG) plays a central role in the signal transduction of G-protein coupled receptors and receptor tyrosine kinases by binding to C1 domain of effector proteins. C1 domain was first identified in protein kinase C (PKC) which comprises a family of ten isoforms that play roles in diverse cellular processes such as proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. Aberrant signaling through PKC isoforms and other C1 domain-containing proteins has been implicated in several pathological disorders. Drug discovery concerning C1 domains has exploited both natural products and rationally designed compounds. Currently, molecules from several classes of C1 domain-binding compounds are in clinical trials; however, still more have the potential to enter the drug development pipeline. This review gives a summary of the recent developments in C1 domain-binding compounds.
  • Väisänen, Elina; Fu, Yu; Koskenmies, Sari; Fyhrquist, Nanna; Wang, Yilin; Keinonen, Anne; Mäkisalo, Heikki; Väkevä, Liisa; Pitkänen, Sari; Ranki, Annamari; Hedman, Klaus; Söderlund-Venermo, Maria (2019)
  • Maljanen, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Unlike its name would suggest, cancer is not a single disease. It is a group of diseases that arises from the expansion of a somatic cell clone. This expansion is thought to be a result of mutations that confer a selective advantage to the cell clone. These mutations that are advantageous to cells that result in their proliferation and escape of normal cell constraints are called driver mutations. The genes that contain driver mutations are known as driver genes. Studying these mutations and genes is important for understanding how cancer forms and evolves. Various methods have been developed that can discover these mutations and genes. This thesis focuses on a method called Deep Mutation Modelling, a deep learning based approach to predicting the probability of mutations. Deep Mutation Modelling’s output probabilities offer the possibility of creating sample and cancer type specific probability scores for mutations that reflect the pathogenicity of the mutations. Most methods in the past have made scores that are the same for all cancer types. Deep Mutation Modelling offers the opportunity to make a more personalised score. The main objectives of this thesis were to examine the Deep Mutation Modelling output as it was unknown what kind of features it has, see how the output compares against other scoring methods and how the probabilities work in mutation hotspots. Lastly, could the probabilities be used in a common driver gene discovery method. Overall, the goal was to see if Deep Mutation Modelling works and if it is competitive with other known methods. The findings indicate that Deep Mutation Modelling works in predicting driver mutations, but that it does not have sufficient power to do this reliably and requires further improvements.
  • Aksela, Laura (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Even though cancer treatment modalities have improved during last decades, there is still lack of specific, efficient and curative treatments especially in case of advanced and metastatic cancers. One relatively new approach is to use oncolytic adenoviruses, which selectively infect and kill cancerous cells leaving healthy cells unharmed. These viruses have shown to be effective especially when administered intratumorally and in combination with chemotherapeutics. However this approach has multiple challenges like rapid clearance by antibody neutralization in systemic administration. Another challenge is the cell entry of oncolytic adenovirus, which is mainly mediated by the Coxsackie-Adenovirus receptor and this receptor is downregulated in various cancer cells. Rapid clearance and reduced cell entry thus lead to decreased amount of oncolytic adenovirus in target cells and decreased efficacy. In order to overcome these limitations, this study explored the possibility to use cancer cell derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) as drug delivery system for oncolytic adenovirus. Since oncolytic adenoviruses have shown to be effective especially in combination with chemotherapeutics, the ability of EVs to deliver both oncolytic adenoviruses and chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel was studied. The aims of this study were to i) study whether oncolytic adenoviruses could be encapsulated inside EVs (EV-virus complex) and load this complex with paclitaxel (EV-virus-PTX complex), ii) discover whether the surface charge or size distribution of EV-virus and EV-virus-PTX complexes differs from the control EVs and iii) study the infectivity/efficacy of EV-virus and EV-virus-PTX complex in comparison to noncapsulated adenovirus in vitro. Since this is a novel approach, the literature review focused on the characteristics, advantages and challenges of oncolytic adenoviruses and EVs. In order to determine whether cancerous cell are able to encapsulate oncolytic adenoviruses inside EVs, A549 lung cancer and PC-3 prostate cancer cells were infected with oncolytic adenovirus and the formed EVs were isolated form conditioned media using differential centrifugation. Paclitaxel was loaded into these EV-virus complexes with incubation. EV-virus complexes were imaged using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) (i). The characteristics of these EV-virus and EV-virus-paclitaxel complexes were studied by determining the surface charge by electrophoretic light scattering and the size distribution by nanoparticle tracking analysis (ii). In order to determine the infectivity/efficacy of these complexes in autologous use, three in vitro level assays were performed (cell viability, immunocytochemistry and transduction assay) (iii). In addition confocal microscopy was used to observe the localization of EV-virus complexes inside the cell. These studies pointed out that both cell lines were able to encapsulate oncolytic adenovirus inside EVs, which was observed by TEM. The size distribution of these EV-virus and EV-virus-PTX complexes may support this observation and the size was in range 50-500 nm. In addition the determined surface charge was shown to be similar in EV-virus and EV-virus-PTX- complexes when compared to control EVs derived from noninfected cells - however more specific assays in order to characterize the surface properties of EV-virus complexes are needed. As a main finding, these EV-virus and EV-virus-PTX complexes were shown to significantly increase the efficacy of oncolytic adenovirus in comparison to free oncolytic adenovirus, paclitaxel and paclitaxel+virus combination in all three in vitro assays. In addition localization of the EV-virus complex was seen with confocal microscopy imaging. These results indicate that EVs may enhance the delivery of oncolytic adenovirus into cancerous cells. Using EVs as a drug delivery system for both oncolytic adenovirus and chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel was shown to increase the efficacy of oncolytic adenovirus in comparison to free virus. This characteristic could potentially enhance the targeting ability to cancerous cells and thus lead to decreased amount of side-effects of healthy tissues especially in case of chemotherapeutics. These promising results of this novel approach are however preliminary due to relatively low number of repetitions (n~3) and more research is needed especially in order to characterize, purify and concentrate the EV-virus complexes.
  • Kuuluvainen, Emilia; Domenech-Moreno, Eva; Niemela, Elina H.; Makela, Tomi P. (2018)
    In cancer, oncogene activation is partly mediated by acquired superenhancers, which therefore represent potential targets for inhibition. Superenhancers are enriched for BRD4 and Mediator, and both BRD4 and the Mediator MED12 subunit are disproportionally required for expression of superenhancer-associated genes in stem cells. Here we show that depletion of Mediator kinase module subunit MED12 or MED13 together with MED13L can be used to reduce expression of cancer-acquired superenhancer genes, such as the MYC gene, in colon cancer cells, with a concomitant decrease in proliferation. Whereas depletion of MED12 or MED13/MED13L caused a disproportional decrease of superenhancer gene expression, this was not seen with depletion of the kinases cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK8) and CDK19. MED12-MED13/MED13L-dependent superenhancer genes were coregulated by beta-catenin, which has previously been shown to associate with MED12. Importantly, beta-catenin depletion caused reduced binding of MED12 at the MYC superenhancer. The effect of MED12 or MED13/MED13L depletion on cancer-acquired superenhancer gene expression was more specific than and partially distinct from that of BRD4 depletion, with the most efficient inhibition seen with combined targeting. These results identify a requirement of MED12 and MED13/MED13L for expression of acquired superenhancer genes in colon cancer, implicating these Mediator subunits as potential therapeutic targets for colon cancer, alone or together with BRD4.
  • Pradhan, Barun; Kauppi, Liisa (2019)
    Long interspersed nuclear elements 1 (LINE-1s) are the only family of mobile genetic elements in the human genome that can move autonomously. They do so by a process called retrotransposition wherein they transcribe to form an mRNA intermediate which is then consequently inserted into the genome by reverse transcription. Despite being silent in normal cells, LINE-1s are highly active in different epithelial tumors. De novo LINE-1 insertions can potentially drive tumorigenesis, and hence it is important to systematically study LINE-1 retrotransposition in cancer. Out of similar to 150 retrotransposition-competent LINE-1s present in the human genome, only a handful of LINE-1 loci, also referred to as "hot" LINE-1s, account for the majority of de novo LINE-1 insertion in different cancer types. We have developed a simple polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method to monitor retrotransposition activity of these hot LINE-1s. This method, based on long-distance inverse (LDI)-PCR, takes advantage of 3 ' transduction, a mechanism by which a LINE-1 mobilizes its flanking non-repetitive region, which can subsequently be used to identify de novo LINE-1 3 ' transduction events stemming from a particular hot LINE-1.
  • Juntunen, Maiju (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Cancer immunotherapy refers to therapy strategies that utilise the mechanisms of the immune system to treat cancer patients. The benefits of the approach include the possibility for specific targeting and utilisation of the host immune system. The treatment methods include cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses (OVs), cell-based immunotherapies and antibodies. The interplay between the cancer and the immune system has been observed crucial for the progress of the cancer and the success of immunotherapies. An immune inflamed tumour microenvironment has been observed beneficial for the success of several therapy methods. Many immunotherapy methods rely on detecting tumour specific antigens that are used to guide the therapy agent to the target site. This strategy poses challenges when considering tumour immune evasion mechanisms, which can cause downregulation of target antigens, and heterogeneity of tumour cells and patients. OVs have the advantage of not requiring predetermined target structures to exert their effect to the tumour cells. They cause direct tumour cell lysis and induce immune responses, and may be modified to express additional genes, including immunostimulatory agents. However, virus-related immunosuppressive mechanisms and a rapid viral clearance may limit their effects. A Western Reserve (WR) Vaccinia virus (VACV) is a highly oncolytic virus strain but the virus has been observed to suppress the function of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate adenosine monophosphate synthase – stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS STING) innate immune pathway which has been shown to have a significant role in anti-tumour immune responses. The aim of this study was to create a WR VACV encoding a dominantly active (D A) STING and to determine whether the virus is capable of activating the cGAS STING pathway. The effects were compared to a corresponding virus vvdd tdTomato that does not have the STING encoding gene. The pathogenicity of viruses was controlled by a double deletion of the thymidine kinase and vaccinia growth factor genes which restricts the virus replication to tumour cells. Transgene fragments were cloned from template plasmids by polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) and joined together in a Gibson Assembly (GA) reaction to form a STING-P2A-eGFP gene insert. The insert was attached to a shuttle vector pSC65-tdTomato by restriction enzyme digestion, ligation and transformation in Escherichia coli. The correct transgene plasmid construct was verified by Sanger sequencing and PCRs. The transgene was inserted to a modified WR VACV vvdd-tdTomato-hDAI by a homologous recombination. The newly created VVdd STING-P2A-eGFP virus was purified by plaque purification. The STING protein expression was studied by an immunocytochemistry (ICC) assay. The immune signalling pathway activation was examined by testing nuclear factor kappa-light chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation in RAW-Blue cells and dendritic cell activation and maturation in JAWS II cells. The cell viability after iinfection was studied with four cell lines; A549, B16-F10, HEK293 and MB49. The D-A STING expressing virus was produced successfully. The ICC experiment verified the capability of the VVdd STING-P2A eGFP to produce the STING protein in the infected cells. The preliminary findings indicate that the VVdd STING-P2A-eGFP virus activates the NF-κB signalling in the RAW-Blue cells and that the activation is dependent on the STING expression. The activation level is relative to the infection concentration at MOI range 0,001 to 0,1. The findings suggest that the VVdd-STING-eGFP virus can induce innate immune signalling via the STING pathway. The reference virus did not activate the signalling. The in vitro experiments also indicated that the STING virus may induce DC activation and maturation. We observed a trend of CD86 and CD40 expression upregulation on the JAWS II DCs. The effects to the cell viability were inconclusive. More studies should be conducted to verify the results. The effects of the virus should be studied in more advanced cancer models that take into account the complexity of the immune system. These preliminary results indicate the that the VVdd-STING-P2A-eGFP virus could stimulate the immune signalling through the STING pathway.
  • Spjuth, Ola; Karlsson, Andreas; Clements, Mark; Humphreys, Keith; Ivansson, Emma; Dowling, Jim; Eklund, Martin; Jauhiainen, Alexandra; Czene, Kamila; Gronberg, Henrik; Sparen, Par; Wiklund, Fredrik; Cheddad, Abbas; Palsdottir, Porgerodur; Rantalainen, Mattias; Abrahamsson, Linda; Laure, Erwin; Litton, Jan-Eric; Palmgren, Juni (2017)
    Objective: We provide an e-Science perspective on the workflow from risk factor discovery and classification of disease to evaluation of personalized intervention programs. As case studies, we use personalized prostate and breast cancer screenings. Materials and Methods: We describe an e-Science initiative in Sweden, e-Science for Cancer Prevention and Control (eCPC), which supports biomarker discovery and offers decision support for personalized intervention strategies. The generic eCPC contribution is a workflow with 4 nodes applied iteratively, and the concept of e-Science signifies systematic use of tools from the mathematical, statistical, data, and computer sciences. Results: The eCPC workflow is illustrated through 2 case studies. For prostate cancer, an in-house personalized screening tool, the Stockholm-3 model (S3M), is presented as an alternative to prostate-specific antigen testing alone. S3M is evaluated in a trial setting and plans for rollout in the population are discussed. For breast cancer, new biomarkers based on breast density and molecular profiles are developed and the US multicenter Women Informed to Screen Depending on Measures (WISDOM) trial is referred to for evaluation. While current eCPC data management uses a traditional data warehouse model, we discuss eCPC-developed features of a coherent data integration platform. Discussion and Conclusion: E-Science tools are a key part of an evidence-based process for personalized medicine. This paper provides a structured workflow from data and models to evaluation of new personalized intervention strategies. The importance of multidisciplinary collaboration is emphasized. Importantly, the generic concepts of the suggested eCPC workflow are transferrable to other disease domains, although each disease will require tailored solutions.